Even if you staked your claim of patchy grass an hour or more in advance – free Deerhunter, anyone? – you’d still be hard-pressed to get within 100 yards of the Orange stage Saturday night at Fun Fun Fun Fest for M.I.A.
Complemented by the shimmery, multi-hued night lights of Downtown Austin, Sri Lankan MC, activist, and muso-political provocateur Maya Arulpragasam announced her arrival onstage with some of the deepest and most sternum-rattling bass whomp yet devised. Earplugs? Mandatory.
Clad in a gold lamé jacket and flanked by a trio of catlike dancers, the singer spliced abbreviated snips and bits of earlier hits into a seamless, fluid groove that recalled her ongoing affection for mixtapes. M.I.A. may have A.D.D., but the slinky, pan-global trio of “Bamboo Banga,” “Sunshowers,” and a seriously feisty riff on “Bucky Done Gun” felt perfectly situated in our current state of concussively cross-cultural shock.
Banging out a raging “Galang” from her 2004 Piracy Funds Terrorism, Vol. 1 mixtape mid-set might’ve seemed a momentary backstep had it not immediately been followed by stagehands dragging giddy audience “Bad Girls” up onstage to help “Bring the Noize” via the femme-anthemics of “Boyz.”
End of night?
Not until incendiary new single “Y.A.L.A.” big-boomed like a suicide audio bomber intent on rapturing all within earshot up to M.I.A.’s version of agitpop paradise via flaming “Paper Planes.”
Bucky went banga, crowd lost it.
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